California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Childcare Workers in California

May also be called: Baby Sitters; Before and After School Day Care Workers; Child Care Providers; Child Care Teachers; Child Caregivers; Day Care Providers; Infant and Toddler Teachers; Teacher Assistants; and Toddler Teachers

Specialties within this occupation include: Childcare Center Workers; Family Childcare Providers; and Nannies

What Would I Do?

Childcare Workers look after children while their parents are away. Childcare Workers nurture and teach children. Childcare Workers responsible for infants and toddlers may need to change diapers and bottle- or spoon-feed them. Although Childcare Workers are not teachers, they work with children individually or in groups to create a safe, comfortable, and creative environment, allowing children to mature and learn. By assisting children to become more independent and learn social interaction skills, Childcare Workers prepare kids for formal schooling.

Childcare Workers teach young children through play, problem solving, answering questions, and experimenting. Childcare Workers use less structured approaches to teach children, such as art, dance, and music. Structured activities, such as storytelling and group play, are used to develop language and social skills.

Child care centers range from large, well-equipped buildings with large inside and outside play areas to small private homes. Working with children involves a lot of physical activity, mental alertness, and enthusiasm. Good general health, physical stamina, and emotional stability are essential. The work is never routine, with each day marked by new activities and challenges. This job requires bending, stooping, and lifting as workers attend to each child’s needs. The environment is often noisy, and Workers occasionally have to contend with foul odors. Childcare Workers typically work a 40-hour workweek.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Childcare Worker will appeal to those who enjoy children, as well as activities that involve assisting others and promoting learning and personal development. Those who enjoy teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people may enjoy this occupation.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Childcare Workers in California differ widely depending on job duties, work experience, and location of the work. Workers in large cities generally earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.

The median wage in 2021 for Childcare Workers in California was $32,133 annually, or $15.46 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2021Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefit packages vary from company to company. Childcare Workers generally receive health insurance, vacation, sick leave, and holidays. Self-employed Childcare Workers need to purchase their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job prospects are expected to be favorable for Childcare Workers. Job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of Childcare Workers who are expected to retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How Do I Qualify?

Childcare Workers who work in care centers with children two years old or younger must meet one of the following requirements: a high school diploma or GED; enrolled in a school leading to the completion of high school; or have prior experience in child care. All Childcare Workers must have a criminal record clearance, including fingerprinting. They must also be in good physical health and submit tuberculosis test results to the employer or licensing agency.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Childcare Workers